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World Cup coming to Hard Rock Stadium

The south side of Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. (Photo Kevin Johnson)

The list of big events at Hard Rock Stadium is about to get even bigger.

The stadium in Miami Gardens is one of 11 in the U.S. selected June 16 to host FIFA World Cup games in 2026. A total of 16 cities were picked in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Each city is expected to host up to six games, although the exact schedule has yet to be determined.

“We are thrilled that the 2026 FIFA World Cup is coming to Miami,” Tom Garfinkel, vice chairman, president and CEO of the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium, said in a news release. “The Hard Rock Stadium campus is a global entertainment destination reflective of the dynamic and international culture of Miami. This selection was a culmination of collaborative work from multiple stakeholders including [Dolphins and stadium owner] Stephen Ross, Miami-Dade County officials and the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.”

The World Cup is often regarded as the world’s biggest sports event. According to the18.com, viewership for the Super Bowl in 2018 was about 103 million compared to more than 500 million that year for the World Cup championship match.

“Miami-Dade is the ideal community to host the 2026 World Cup. Our residents hail from every corner of the world, creating a vibrant metropolitan area unlike any other in the United States. Soccer runs through the veins of our county, ” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said in a statement.

Hard Rock International, whose parent entity is the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and the Miami Dolphins are six years into an 18-year agreement for the stadium’s naming rights. Since the stadium became known as Hard Rock Stadium, it has hosted a Super Bowl, college football national championship, international soccer matches, the Miami Open tennis tournament, Formula 1 racing and several big musical acts, including The Rolling Stones.

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